Graham disappointed with “embarrassing” loss

At the end of the game after the last snap UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley took a bow, deservedly so after his team’s performance, a dominant 62-27 rout over Arizona State in Sun Devil Stadium on Thursday night.

"Well, obviously that was embarrassing,” Arizona State head coach Todd Graham said. “We did not meet our standards and you find out what you are made of. I am very proud of our guys but we did not represent Sun Devil Nation the way our standards are set and that is to be a championship team. We are going to work and get it corrected."

The Bruins (4-0, 1-0 Pac 12) had five plays of 80 or more yards from scrimmage, four touchdowns through the air, and perhaps the biggest stat of them all – no turnovers.

And the Sun Devil defense took a step back as far as tackling is concerned. On multiple occasions, Arizona State had opportunities to prevent the big plays, but didn’t get the job done on a night where mistakes had to be limited.

"Tackling was atrocious,” Graham said. “Very, very poor tackling. Fundamentally looked bad and looked inexperienced. I am lost for words.”

Arizona State had over 600 yards of offense themselves, and 38 first downs behind backup quarterback Mike Bercovici. Typically 626 yards -- 488 through the air -- translates to more than 27 points, but four turnovers on the night proved costly for the Sun Devils.

"We had over 100 offensive plays and over 600 yards,” Graham said. “But we only scored 27 points. You cannot make turnovers and expect to win a football game.

"I think Mike (Bercovici) did some great things but you cannot make turnovers. That was the story of the night. He did make some great plays and overcame adversity; for his first time playing, he really showed some promise. I am really proud of him. He made some mistakes and he came back from it.”

The Devils started out hot in the first quarter. On the very first drive of the game, Bercovici – although a bit jittery -- led a nine-play, 43-yard drive that was capped by a 49-yard field goal off the foot of Zane Gonzalez to give ASU the early 3-0 lead.

After the Sun Devil defense forced a punt, D.J. Foster fumbled on the first play of the ensuing drive – his first of the season -- to give the Bruins excellent field position to work with. They turned it into a field goal to tie the game up at three.

The ASU offense then drove down 75 yards on nine plays for a score to take the 10-3 lead. Bercovici found tight end Kody Kohl on a crossing pattern away from the play side for a five-yard score.

UCLA pulled within four once Ka’imi Fairbairn hit a 24-yard field goal.

The Devils offense had already moved into Bruin territory to close out the first quarter. Three plays into the second, Bercovici threw an absolute dart, parting two Bruins to find Cameron Smith for a 29-yard score and the 17-6 lead.

With 19 seconds left in the first half, Mike Norvell and Todd Graham elected to forgo the conservative move of kicking the field goal, and put the ball in the air. In perhaps the play of the game, UCLA defensive back Ishmael Adams jumped a route and picked off the pass from Bercovici, taking it to pay dirt. It was a 10-point swing in the Bruins favor at that point, extending their lead 27-17 going into the locker room.

To open up the second half, Hundley connected with Jordan Payton for an 80-yard touchdown.

On a 4th and 8 play on the ensuing drive for the Devils, Deantre Lewis hauled in a pass six yards short of the first down, but spun and drove his way two-yards past the markers to move the chains. The Devils would go down to score a field goal on the drive to cut the lead down to 14.

Yet, Ishmael Adams then took the kickoff from Alex Garoutte back 100 yards for another quick strike score for the Bruins, once again making it a three-score game.

From that moment on, it was all UCLA. The Bruins would go on to outscore the Devils 35-10 in the final two quarters of the game.

“Obviously, we did not do a very good job of preparing them,” Graham said. “We did not respond very well. We look inexperienced and made too many mistakes. Big plays were a big factor. Tackling was atrocious and we need to do a better job coaching and preparing them.

“We will bounce back. We just have to keep working hard. No one will go in this league undefeated and our guys will respond like champions."


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